Shazam #9 – Geoff Johns, Writer; Marco Santucci, Scott Kolins, Dale Eaglesham, Artists; Michael Atiyeh, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: Shazam #9 is here, despite some massive delays along the ways. Geoff Johns’ reinvention of Shazam has been one of the most entertaining DC launches of the last few years. Like all Johns books, it’s wildly ambitious and has introduced multiple new magic realms to match the new characters bearing the Shazam power. Last issue added one more – Billy’s long-lost father, who became the seventh Champion when Billy shared his power to ensure his father survived an attack by Black Adam and the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s interesting to see a very different champion – a middle-aged man with a checkered past – adjust to these gifts, but it comes with a price.
Mary’s powers start flickering on and off, and the heroes are soon forced to retreat backing to the Wozenderlands to survive. That’s where Billy gets the biggest news of the series – the Wizard Shazam is still alive and has been manipulating much of what’s been going on.
There are three artists on this issue, but it’s Scott Kolins’ take on the Oz/Wonderland pastiche that stands out the most. Johns is obviously having a lot of fun with unique takes like a heroic Scarecrow and a carnivorous, vicious Cheshire Cat. But the reveal of why the powers are off-kilter – Billy is essentially torn between two families – was a clever twist that I’m sure any child with a complex family situation can relate to.
There was no real satisfactory outcome possible, and Billy’s father finally dispels many suspicions with his response. But Billy’s ultimate decision essentially not to decide and to rewrite the rules of magic because he can felt a bit pat. We now have seven champions, seven lands full of danger, and an army of iconic villains looking to raise hell. This series has essentially been one large story, and as we head to the big conclusion, I’m excited to see what it can do once it hits its schedule and fully explores this creative world.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.